Youth Development, Courtesy of International Circus Exchange

7: The number of years that I, Paul Miller (Circus Mojo’s Founder & the Founder & Chief Goof-Officer of CircEsteem), have been partnering with Circus Pimparello in Germany for student exchange programs for youth development.

Group to Germany

$250,000: The total scholarship amount earned by past students who have participated in these exchange trips to Germany.

$6,000: The amount needed to fund this year’s program (click here to contribute any amount) The German Government’s Social Exchange program will fund the balance of the $22,000 needed. (We’ve raised $1,000 to date 7/5/12 via Kickstarter and $127.34 street performing.)

This trip has served as a great tool in convincing parents and students that the time and energy devoted to circus skills training and youth development is worth the effort. What does Jesse and Sharon have to say?

Now it’s my turn to convince you:

In 2006, I began this program and recruited youth mostly from  Senn High School in Chicago,  despite that  students from here repeatedly fall short of federal standards. It has been quite a challenge for all the kids I’ve taken. In the past we aligned political forces to secure refugee emergency travel documents from the State Department, secured passports, raised funds, and more. It’s undeniable that these efforts have been worth it. Here in Ludlow, KY, the home of Circus Mojo, we’ve had to help the local kids get their birth certificates and their passports for this trip.

At Senn High School in spring 2010, (only) 3.3% of juniors scored high enough on at least three of the four parts of the ACT to be considered “college-ready” for key freshman classes. Senn has a 56.8% Graduation rate.

However, ALL of the students from this high school who came to Germany earned college scholarships, with most being full rides:

Viviane Clement, Carleton College, full ride

Teresa Clement, Lake Forest College, full ride

Cornell Freeney, Illinois State University, full ride

Others like Donald Keme, who earned a scholarship to Truman College, chose the path of vocational skills training and now has a degree from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. He’s currently working as a full-time professional in his field.Keme Juggling

Collectively, these shining examples received over $250,000 in scholarships.  Graduates are working in their chosen fields of study.  While in the general population/economy, many finish college and few work in their chosen fields.

It’s a bold statement to attribute these young people’s success to the circus. But it’s the deep investment made in these individuals through the circus that has helped them rise above. Each took an adventure to Germany to work, perform and learn with Circus Pimparello.

Last year we hosted this cultural exchange, hoping to inspire young people like Erinn and Jesse, who have grown up in Ludlow. Both have been working with Circus Mojo since we opened our doors in this low-income community. Neither child had been to a circus – let alone performed in one. This summer, both will travel in a plane for their first time; both now have passports to explore the world.

Adam Funck, Andrew Kutcher and Sharon Perez Alvarez have been working hard to earn this trip too. Unlike Erinn and Jesse, they came to Circus Mojo with a strong base in circus skills. They now have the opportunity to perform and learn in Germany. This summer, Cora Siebert (2006 Tour), Jesse Dascola (2008 Tour) and Cortez Young (2010 Tour) will lead this group of young people.  Andi Wywiorski Teen Troupe Leader from The Actors Gymnasium will also join us.

Take a moment to look at the profound impact on youth development that the trips have made in the lives of past participants…please KICK IN to bring this trip to fruition!

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Youth Development, Courtesy of International Circus Exchange

  1. Xitlali Patlan

    Hi, I’m Lali part of CircEsteem in Chicago. I have had the great opportunity to go to Germany in the 2008 tour. I had a great experience! I made new friends, learned new tricks,explored Germany, learned words in German and enjoyed this new experience. It would be great for other circus teens to get the opportunity to experience what I experienced! So please help out these outstanding teens!

  2. Ckoryna Lara

    My trip to Germany was a life time changing experience. It was amazing to get to meet new people. I learned different circus skills and how to take more responsibility. Even though it was sort frustrating not understanding everyone there i did learn to love everyone at Pimparello because at the end we talked one language and that was circus.
    -Ckoryna Lara-

  3. Prado Keme

    Circus, Circus, Circus ! Children are in Circuses “All Over The World”, But not everyday are they given opportunities to travel, Yet alone Internationally. I’m Prado Keme, And I have been involved in circus activities with Circesteem ever since I was as young as 6 . In 2010, I was involved in a International Circus Exchange. Circesteem visited Circus Pimparello, Where I’ve gotten to perform outside of the U.S, Interact with other Youth, and Experience great things . Its exciting to know that other youth will get a chance to be a part of the International Circus Exchange. .With your help, We could make Kids Dreams come True !

  4. Jesse Dascola

    Circus has changed my life for the better! I first joined Circesteem in 2006, I was in 8th grade and didn’t really have any direction to go on in life. But when I joined the circus that changed. I had something I enjoyed doing, something I could be a part of and something that helped me in so many ways. Being in a circus troop not only do you learn new skills but you build relationships and bonds that can hold for life. I went on the Germany trip in 2008, those 3 weeks are 3 weeks that I will never forget in life. So much changed during that time and I grew as a person. I got to meet Germans for the first time and I have friends from there, and I learned some much from them and I will never forget them. I can not express how excited I am to get to go again and how much it means to me to be able to see the German circus camp again. But we need your help to go. With your help not only will you make my dream of going back a reality but you will help other kids get the experience of a life time and memories they will never forget, and that is something that is worth giving to.

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